Ohio Water Quality

Clean Water is Everyone’s Business.
Ohio farmers know this better than anyone.

Clean lakes and streams throughout Ohio are important to everyone, especially farmers. Ohio’s corn, wheat and soybean farmers share a passion for the land and are continuously improving their practices to reduce any impact that farming may have on waterways.

What we know

Water quality in Ohio is affected by many variables. Industrial pollution, private septic systems, municipal waste from sewer systems, urban storm runoff and fertilizer loss all contribute, in varying degrees, to the deterioration of our waterways.

Recently, concern for Ohio’s water quality includes the issue of nutrients, such as phosphorus from farmland, entering our waterways. While farm nutrients are just one of the many sources that may be affecting water quality, Ohio farmers are committed to leading the improvement of
Ohio waterways.

Water quality issues did not become a problem overnight. In fact, a similar issue involving a different type of phosphorus was successfully solved in the 1970s with the aid of Ohio’s farmers, who made voluntary improvements to how they farmed their land. Farmers have led the charge for water improvement before and they will do so again.

Unearthing the Facts

Exactly how nutrients, such as phosphorus, are making it into Ohio waterways is largely unknown. Research is therefore critical to verify the volume of nutrients entering waterways, how this is happening and to identify those practices that keep nutrients on the fields.

More than $3.5 million is being invested by Ohio’s agricultural organizations – including the Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program and the Ohio Corn Marketing Program – to conduct on-farm, edge-of-field testing in partnership with The Ohio State University, OSU Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. The USDA has also invested $1 million toward the research.

The tests will monitor surface runoff and tile drainage, collecting water from the edges of fields around Ohio with various farming practices. The results will be used to identify and rank farming practices that are most effective in keeping nutrients on the field and out of waterways, helping farmers to reduce nutrient runoff and improve Ohio’s waterways.

Taking Action

Farmers throughout Ohio are already making strides to keep nutrients on the fields.

To minimize nutrient loss, farmers are creating customized nutrient-management plans. By accounting for the different soil types, crop rotations, water flow and nutrient needs, each plan will help farmers better control the amount, source, placement, type and timing of fertilizer application.

Technology and advanced farm equipment are also helping farmers accurately apply the right source of fertilizer at the right time, in the right place and with the right amount – thus producing more with less. This is known as 4R Stewardship.

Ohio farmers are proud to play a vital role in improving our waterways, because clean water is everyone’s business.

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